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Truth, it’s often said, is the first casualty in war. But as author GRAHAM WILSON has pointed out in his book Bully Beef and Balderdash Volume II: More myths of the AIF examined and debunked, it’s not just the military players in the thick of the action but also the historians who perpetuate military myths. Graham sadly died in 2016, but CATHY McCULLAGH, the editor of Graham’s books, recalls this debunker and stickler who was determined to reveal the truth.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • It’s 100 years since
 Roald Dahl’s birth on 13 September 1916. For many years now, 13 September has been celebrated as Roald Dahl Day.  I love all of Roald Dahl’s books. I love the naughty antics his characters get up to in so many of his stories. I love reading about the fascinating life he led – especially his wartime flying exploits – and I really loved how he made the nasty grandmother in George’s Marvellous Medicine just go ‘pop’ and disappear. I think we all have someone in our life we’d like that to happen to occasionally. If you are yet to read his memoirs – Boy and Going Solo – I can’t recommend them highly enough. Read on >
  • If you think of the German navy in World War II, then you probably conjure up images of grand-scale conflicts such as the Battle of the Atlantic or the Baltic Sea campaigns. But not so many people are aware that German ships were also on the prowl down in the South Pacific and in the Indian Ocean, where they disguised themselves as ordinary freighters before launching their deadly assaults on unsuspecting Allied craft. False Flags, a new account by Canberra author STEPHEN ROBINSON, tells the story of four German raiders, including the infamous attack by one of them, the Kormoran, on the HMAS Sydney in 1941. GRANT HANSEN reports. Read on >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >
  • Who would have thought that in the largely homogeneous country of China that there could be a group of people who could trace their lineage back to invading Romans? TONY GREY uncovered this intriguing bit of information while travelling in China, and here he tells how he came to write his historical novel, The Tortoise in Asia, which tells the story of Romans travelling along the Silk Road in ancient times. Read on >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. Read on >
  • Born in London, retired doctor TONY ATKINSON spent the first years of his life in a cage dangling out of a window. But he went on to serve the Queen and Winston Churchill during his early career as a footman and waiter, which he recalls in hilarious stories in he memoir, A Prescribed Life. Read on >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  • Adelaide writer STEPHEN 
ORR, whose book The Hands
 was longlisted for the 2016 
Miles Franklin Award, likes to
travel the world inspecting
 sites of literary interest – when 
he’s not writing about cattle 
stations and small towns. Here 
he recounts a recent journey to
 the British Isles and Germany on 
which he visited the homes and
 haunts of some of the world’s best known authors. Read on >
  • As a teenager, GAYLE FORMAN was so obsessed with ‘80s movie star Molly Ringwald that she started to imitate the actress’s trademark nervous lip bite – and now she has a permanent scar. After seven bestselling YA novels and a successful movie adaption of one of her books, she talks with ANGUS DALTON about her first book for adults, Leave Me. Read on >
  • FIONA CAPP is the internationally published, award-winning author of three works of non-fiction, including her memoir That Oceanic Feeling – which won the Kibble Award – and five novels, including Gotland, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards. Fiona lives in Melbourne and works as a freelance writer and reviewer. Her latest novel, To Know My Crime, is a story of blackmail, risk, corruption, guilt and consequences set on the Mornington Peninsula. We asked Fiona to tell us about the books that have shaped her view of the world. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • It’s been over 25 years since the first Maisy books were published, and Maisy Goes Swimming was among them. Of course, if she’s going swimming, Maisy has to get undressed and we need to help her. Her blue hat and scarf first, then her brown boots and her red coat. Little tags on every page help us to put Maisy in her bright stripey swimsuit. Read on >

  • Maisy’s been for a holiday, she’s been for a sleepover and even visited a museum. Now it’s time to go the bookshop. She’s amazed how many books there are, which makes it very hard for her to choose. But Ostrich, the shopkeeper, helps her to find a lovely book about birds, just right for her friend, Tallulah. She meets her other friends – Charley, Cyril and Eddie – who all share their favourite books with one another. At story time Ostrich reads a book to them about a dinosaur. Then it’s off to the café where the food is so yummy. Read on >

  • This is a true story written by the author of such memorable picture books as Queenie: One Elephant’s Story and The Dog on the Tuckerbox. It’s a love story about a man and his pet gibbon and it’s beautifully presented with soft, wistful illustrations. Read on >

  • This is an extremely important book for every school and municipal library to have on its shelves. It’s written so that very young children will understand the injustice of it all, and the older ones in primary school will want to discuss the history of those days, which are written up in detail in the last pages of the book. Read on >

  • With a strong sense of contemporary Australian culture and a protagonist who is relatable, this story will stay with you. It’s a stirring tale brimming with the conflicts of youth growth and it offers a thoughtful take on issues relevant to the lives of many children. Read on >

  • The magical realism in Laura Ruby’s novel is beautifully rendered. The action switches seamlessly between Finn – his complicated home life and his new relationship with Petey – and Roza’s new life with the unrecognisable man. The conclusion is satisfying but perhaps too abrupt. Nonetheless, the love story, the search for Roza and the hope that Finn and Sean will finally be the winners will keep you reading. Read on >

  • I really admire how these two authors have co-written this book. The story is told from dual points of view. Jess expresses herself so capably, while Nicu tugs at our heartstrings with his broken English. The book is written in verse, which means, with fewer words on each page, the impact is so much greater. Read on >

  • Author Sara Barnard incorporates text message formatting to show the conversations between Steffi and Rhys, which makes them just like any other teenagers. Her novel is accessible and engrossing, even if you have no experience with social anxiety or hearing impairment. Read on >

  • If you want to do something a bit more creative with a spiraliser than grind out salad garnishes, then this book fills the bill. Read on >

  • By examining one man’s distinguished legal career, we get the opportunity to reflect at length on humanity’s dark side and become aware of the limitations of the law. Read on >

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The Good People